|Publication number||US6980422 B2|
|Application number||US 10/713,738|
|Publication date||Dec 27, 2005|
|Filing date||Nov 13, 2003|
|Priority date||Nov 13, 2003|
|Also published as||US20050105261|
|Publication number||10713738, 713738, US 6980422 B2, US 6980422B2, US-B2-6980422, US6980422 B2, US6980422B2|
|Inventors||Kulvir Singh Bhogal|
|Original Assignee||International Business Machines Corporation|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (8), Referenced by (20), Classifications (8), Legal Events (4)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
1. Technical Field
The present invention relates in general to the field of computers, and in particular to coupling external devices, such as disk drives, to a computer. Still more particularly, the present invention relates to a method and system for connecting an external device to an internal Universal Serial Bus (USB) port.
2. Description of the Related Art
In response to computers becoming more modular, a Universal Serial Bus (USB) interface standard was jointly developed in the 1990's by Intel Corporation, Microsoft Corporation, Compaq Computer Corporation, Digital Equipment Corporation, Northern Telecom Limited, NEC Corporation, and International Business Machines, Inc. The USB standard defines a high-speed serial data interface between a computer and add-on devices, such as keyboards, printers, scanners and secondary storage devices, including floppy disk drives, hard disk drives, and solid-state secondary storage drives. In computers that have USB compliant ports, such devices can be added or removed while the computer is powered up and running.
With the growing popularity of portable computing devices having USB compliant ports, such as laptop (notebook) computers, tablet computers, and personal digital assistants (PDA's), the USB ports afford on-the-go flexibility to a user/owner of the portable computing device. That is, the user of a laptop computer can carry multiple external peripheral devices such as described above, and simply plug the needed external peripheral device into the portable computing device when needed.
A typical portable computing device is illustrated in
By being able to freely connect and disconnect the secondary storage to and from the computer, the user is able to store and share large amounts of data. However, because these secondary storage devices are so easily removed and are typically small, they are often misplaced or stolen.
Also, being attached externally, all such external peripheral devices are prone to damage when the computer is moved. That is, it is common for the user to forget that the external peripheral device is attached to the back of the laptop, and when the laptop is picked up, the secondary storage device is dropped or otherwise damaged.
What is needed, therefore, is a method and device that allows a peripheral device, such as a USB compatible storage device, to connect to a computer while minimizing the potential of the peripheral device being lost or stolen.
The present invention is therefore directed to a method and system for internally connecting a Universal Serial Bus (USB) device to a computer. An access door, hinged within a computer case, has a USB port attached to an interior of the door. To connect the USB device, the access door is swung open at an angle, the USB device is slid into the interior of the door to mate with the USB port, and the access door is then closed flush with the computer case. The access door allows any USB device, small enough to fit inside the access door, to be removably attached to the interior of the computer, thus reducing the potential of the USB device being lost or stolen.
In a preferred embodiment, the access door has an electronic lock, which can be unlocked only by inputting a special code from the computer's keyboard or other input device.
The above, as well as additional objectives, features, and advantages of the present invention will become apparent in the following detailed written description.
The novel features believed characteristic of the invention are set forth in the appended claims. The invention itself, however, as well as a preferred mode of use, further objects and advantages thereof, will best be understood by reference to the following detailed description of an illustrative embodiment when read in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, where:
With reference now to
Referring now to
Referring again to
Additional details of USB access door 210 are shown in
In a preferred embodiment, also attached to USB access door 210 is a switch engager 304, which engages a USB turn-on switch 306 when USB access door 210 is closed. USB turn-on switch 306 passes a disabling signal to USB host controller 262 (shown in
With reference to
As shown now in
To unlock electric lock 402, an unlocking signal is sent to actuator 406 to move receiver 410 to a position that allows attaching member 404 to exit through opening 412. The locking and unlocking signals are controlled through software in computer 201, in any manner known to those skilled in the art of electronic controls. Preferably, the software permits locking and unlocking only when a code is entered into computer 201. This code, which may be prompted for entry by a drop-down menu, pop-up window, or any other graphical user interface (GUI) for prompting an input from a keyboard, mouse, or other input device, may be the same or different for locking and unlocking electric lock 402. In the event of a software or electrical failure, a back-up means of entry (e.g., an overriding mechanical lock, a set-screw having an unorthodox head inset design, etc.) may be provided to open USB access door 210.
With reference now to
Hardware 500 includes a processor 502, which is connected to a system bus 508. In the exemplary embodiment, data processing system 500 includes a graphics adapter 504 also connected to system bus 508, receiving information for display 506.
Also connected to system bus 508 are system memory 510 and input/output (I/O) bus bridge 512. I/O bus bridge 512 couples I/O bus 514 to system bus 508, relaying and/or transforming data transactions from one bus to the other. Peripheral devices such as nonvolatile storage 516, which may be a hard disk drive, floppy drive, a compact disk read-only memory (CD-ROM), a digital video disk (DVD) drive, or the like, and input device 518, which may include a conventional mouse, a trackball, or the like, is connected to I/O bus 514. The software described for controlling electronic lock 402 in
The exemplary embodiment shown in
It should be understood that at least some aspects of the present invention may alternatively be implemented in a program product, preferably performing the functions of the present invention in an automatic manner based on pre-determined criteria as described, including relative logical relationships between and among logic areas. Programs defining functions on the present invention can be delivered to a data storage system or a computer system via a variety of signal-bearing media, which include, without limitation, non-writable storage media (e.g., CD-ROM), writable storage media (e.g., a floppy diskette, hard disk drive, read/write CD ROM, optical media), and communication media, such as computer and telephone networks including Ethernet. It should be understood, therefore in such signal-bearing media when carrying or encoding computer readable instructions that direct method functions in the present invention, represent alternative embodiments of the present invention. Further, it is understood that the present invention may be implemented by a system having means in the form of hardware, software, or a combination of software and hardware as described herein or their equivalent.
While the invention has been particularly shown and described with reference to a preferred embodiment, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that various changes in form and detail may be made therein without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.
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|U.S. Classification||361/679.55, 312/223.1|
|International Classification||G06F1/16, G06F1/18|
|Cooperative Classification||G06F1/183, G06F1/181|
|European Classification||G06F1/18E, G06F1/18S|
|Nov 13, 2003||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MACHINES CORPORATION, NEW Y
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:BHOGAL, KULVIR SINGH;REEL/FRAME:014710/0406
Effective date: 20031111
|Jul 6, 2009||REMI||Maintenance fee reminder mailed|
|Dec 27, 2009||LAPS||Lapse for failure to pay maintenance fees|
|Feb 16, 2010||FP||Expired due to failure to pay maintenance fee|
Effective date: 20091227